NEW YORK >> How many times can I reuse my N95 mask?
It depends, but you should be able to use N95 and KN95 multiple times.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says healthcare workers can wear an N95 mask up to five times. But experts say the frequency with which the average person can wear one safely will vary depending on how it is used.
Wearing the same mask to go to the supermarket, for example, is very different from wearing it all day at work.
The amount of time a mask is worn is more important than how often it is worn, says Richard Flagan, who studies masks and sprays at the California Institute of Technology.
In general, he recommends limiting the use of an N95 mask to about two or three days.
With every breath you take in an N95, particles build up on the mask, Flagan says. That could make breathing difficult if the mask has trapped a lot of particles.
“You're degrading the performance of the mask,” Flagan says.
The elastic band of the mask could also wear out and not fit as well around the face. It can also get dirty or wet, especially if you wear it while exercising.
If you notice any of these changes in your mask, it's time to stop wearing it, even if you've only worn it for a few hours. And since N95 masks can't be washed, they should be thrown away once you can no longer wear them. .